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Cleveland Monsters lose sight of themselves in shutout loss to Binghamton Devils

Photo Credit: John Saraya/Cleveland Monsters

Binghamton Devils (4) at Cleveland Monsters (0)

After a huge shutout win on Friday, the Cleveland Monsters were shutout by the Binghamton Devils, 4-0, this afternoon. Veini Vehvilainen stopped 38 of the 42 shots he faced. Make no mistake, Vehvilainen played well for the Monsters. He went so far as to poke check the Devils and meet them on the outside of the crease to prevent goals.

Coming into this afternoon’s game, the Monsters had to deal with a few last minute roster changes. Ryan MacInnis was sent down to the Monsters after last night’s Columbus Blue Jackets game. He slotted into the first line as a center. Typically this moves players down a line. However, the American Hockey League announced the suspension of Derek Barach during pregame warmups due to a crosschecking penalty taken in Friday’s game. “He crosschecked a boy into the boards,” Head Coach Mike Eaves explained of Barach’s suspension, “On the video, it looked bad. I couldn’t see from the bench. The referee was right there didn’t make a call but when they sent it in because of the way it looked they felt they had to do something on it.” Coach Eaves went on to explain why losing Barach for this afternoon’s game hurt the Monsters just a bit, “He scored two goals for us the night before. We missed that piece.”

With Barach out of the lineup, the Monsters had to call in reinforcements from the Toledo Walleye. Early this morning, Abbott Girduckis signed a PTO with the Monsters to help fill the missing roster spot left behind from Barach’s suspension. Girduckis slotted into the lineup easily as he had played eight games earlier in the season for the Monsters. He looked a lot faster, had a few incredible poke checks, and was phenomenal along the boards behind the net. To be honest, one of the greatest saves of the afternoon came due to Girduckis’ quick thinking. In the first half of the third period, a puck trickled through Vehvilainen’s five-hole and moved towards the goal line in slow motion. Girduckis flew into the crease behind Vehvilainen and knocked the puck out of goal contention.

Even with the addition of a player who knows the system quite well, the Monsters still did not look like themselves. The first pairing of Gabriel Carlsson and Adam Clendening were the most noticeably off this afternoon. They are typically fundamentally sound and make few mistakes which lead to goals. This afternoon, they turned over pucks, misread situations, were slow to catch up to anyone on a breakaway, and just had all around bad luck. To add insult to injury, Clendening was on the ice for all four of the Devils goals. While, Carlsson was on the ice for three. In the past, Coach Eaves has jumbled up the forward lines while leaving the pairs untouched. Things might look completely different come Tuesday’s game against the Grand Rapids Griffins. “That’s a point of discussion. We just talked about that in there,” Coach Eaves said while motioning towards the locker room, “Once we watch the video, we’ll take a look at that (defense pairs).”

When asked if the Monsters haven’t been playing like themselves because of the multiple last minute roster changes over the past two weeks, Coach Eaves was quick to remind the media these changes are a part of the game. “That can be a reason. I don’t want to use it as an excuse,” Coach Eaves said of the last minute roster changes, “There’s a bunch of things that play into that because it’s the nature of the world we live in. People come and go. You’ve got to be able to adapt on the go and make it work. It just seems here recently we haven’t done that. We’re not going to use that as an excuse.”

Due to having games every other day for the past seven days, Coach Eaves was going to give the Monsters a day of rest before their next game. After a game like today’s, he decided a Monday morning practice would be necessary for the Monsters. “We’re going to come in and look in the mirror,” said Coach Eaves of deciding to have practice.

So, tomorrow the Monsters go back to work and begin the process of finding themselves once again.

3 Stars

1st - Nick Merkley (Binghamton Devils) - 1g, 2a
2nd - Gilles Senn (Binghamton Devils) - 22 saves, 22 shots faced, 60:00 TOI
3rd - Ben Street (Binghamton Devils) - 0g, 2a

Monsters Lines

Stefan matteau - Ryan MacInnis - Trey Fix-Wolansky
Jakob Lilja - Calvin Thurkafu - Kole Sherwood
Paul Bittner - Sam Vigneault - Maxime Fortier
Brett Gallant - Abbott Girduckis - Bryan Moore

Monsters Pairs

Gabriel Carlsson - Adam Clendening
Steve Johnson - Dillon Simpson
Anton Karlsson - Doyle Somerby